Obit of the Day: Hiding in Plain Sight
The Netherlands’ most wanted war criminal was not hard to find. He was living in Ingelstadt, Germany and working for Audi. But no matter how hard they tried, Klaas Faber lay tantalizingly out of reach.
Klaas and his brother, Pieter Johan, joined the Nazi SS after the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. (Their father, Pieter Faber, was the head of the Dutch Nazi party prior to World War II.) While serving in the SS, the Faber brothers, oversaw the killings of Dutch citizens, especially Jews, throughout the country.
In 1947, the brothers were tried and found guilty of murder. Pieter Johan was executed by firing squad. Klaas’ sentence was commuted to life in prison because there was no evidence that he had actually committed the murders himself. (Their father was captured and killed by the Dutch Resistance in 1944.)
In December 1952, Klaas Faber and six other former SS officers serving time in prison, escaped and fled to West Germany. Once safely inside the border, Klaas and his compatriots applied for, and received, German citizenship. They qualified under a law that was signed by Hitler during the war that awarded citizenship to any foreign national who aided the Nazi cause. The German government had never overturned the law and Klaas Faber was now a German citizen.
What this meant was that Faber was safe since Germany would not extradite citizens. So the Dutch could only watch in stunned disbelief as a convicted war criminal and prison escapee lived a quiet life of freedom in Ingelstadt.
Klaas Faber, who never spent another day in prison, died on May 24, 2012 at the age of 90.
(Image of Klaas Faber’s prison photo is courtesy of wikipedia.org)